2011 : The Year in Review
It’s been a very busy year for grassroots Texans. Time after time, in battle after battle, we took the fight to the establishment. We won a few, and we lost a few, but time and again, win or lose, we got back in the fight.
Our struggles with the Texas establishment began shortly after the 2010 elections, with the fight to replace Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.
The public opposition to Straus was clear. According to a Heritage Alliance poll conducted in November 2010, 89% of Republican primary voters wanted a more conservative House Speaker.
On December 13th, The Grassroots Texans Network helped to organize ‘Listen to Texans!’ rallies at the district offices of State Representatives across the State of Texas. Whether the representatives chose to listen to what their constituents had to say, they definitely heard us.
In December 2010, Representatives Flynn, Hughes, Berman and Christian endorsed Ken Paxton for Speaker of the Texas House.
In the lead up to the leadership vote, County Republican Party organizations across the state passed resolutions calling for a conservative House Speaker elected by Republican Caucus. The initial attempt in Dallas County failed to reach a quorum, thus requiring a rescheduling. The resolution was ultimately passed at the rescheduled meeting.
Leading up to the January 10th vote , grassroots Texans came together in a broad coalition of groups from around the State to take a stand for a conservative House Speaker.
Ultimately, the establishment carried the day on January 10th, and Joe Straus was relected as House Speaker. Nonetheless, a brave team of 17 heroes had stood up and taken a stand, and we stood with them. Donna Garner penned her own tribute here.
We may have lost a battle, but grassroots Texans weren’t about to concede the war. Grassroots Texans helped to arm their fellow citizens to fight against reappointment of last session’s committee chairs.
When Joe Straus announced his committee chairs, grassroots Texans published a detailed analysis of his committee chair slate as rated by grassroots groups across the State. The analysis made abundantly clear the ideological alignment of the new chairs.
When the legislature tried to water down the Voter ID bill, grassroots Texans worked to shed sunlight on their shenanigans and keep the pressure on for a strong Voter ID bill.
We also worked to keep our fellow Texans up-to-speed on the Eminent Domain Bill.
In February, The Grassroots Texans Network formed a coalition with 18 local tea party organizations to host Grassroots Boot camp, a two-day intensive grassroots training program featuring RedState’s Erick Erickson, former FOX News anchor Brian Wilson and Mark Davis of The Rush Limbaugh Show, among many other trainers. Grassroots Bootcamp was attended by over 200 grassroots activists from around the region.
In March, when the House leadership started to float ‘trail balloons’ about raiding the Rainy Day Fund, grassroots Texans made clear, in no uncertain terms, that raiding the Rainy Day Fund was not an option. Thousands of grassroots Texans rallied together behind a letter to the state legislature demanding fiscal responsibility in the state budget.
Later in March, The Grassroots Texans Network was proud to help support the True the Vote National Summit in Houston, Texas.
In April, the State Legislature took up redistricting, and grassroots Texans fought for an open, fair and reasonable redistricting process.
When the state house leadership bottled up the immigration reform bills demanded by the people of Texas, grassroots Texans worked hard to keep up the pressure, drafting, distributing and delivering an open letter signed by thousands of Texans.
On May 10th, grassroots Texans hand-delivered an Open Letter to Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, House Speaker Joe Straus and other key members of the Texas Legislature. The letter, which demanded transportion reform, an end to fee diversion, control over spiraling government debt and other reforms, was signed by over 2,000 Texans from across the state.
Later in May, grassroots Texans came together to support an open letter to the members of the Texas House expressing strong opposition to the corrupt Pledge Card system and asking all members to refrain from signing pledge cards.
In June, grassroots Texans from across the state tuned in for an end-of-session Legislative Update teleconference featuring JoAnn Fleming, Maria Martinez of IRCOT, Drew Ryun of American Majority and Terri Hall of TURF.
When Joe Straus shut down the Texas House to stop David Simpson’s TSA Bill, grassroots Texans stood up and took notice.
While the Texas House ran out the clock on the special session, grassroots Texans were watching.
As the 2012 Primary season approached, The Grassroots Texans Network hosted a presidential straw poll of tea party organizers in Texas. Interestingly, 2 of the top 5 preferred candidates were not in the race.
On September 19th, The Grassroots Texans Network joined with a coalition of other grassroots reform groups to deliver to Texas Governor Rick Perry an Open Letter signed by over 6,000 Texans demanding real action on illegal immigration.
When the Governor neglected to take action, we returned to Austin in October to make it clear that grassroots Texans are ‘Fed Up’ with Perry’s inaction on immigration reform:
As the November 2011 Constitutional Election approached, The Grassroots Texans Network published a Constitutional Election Voters Guide setting forth the analyses of eight grassroots conservative organizations. Although Texans passed three of the controversial amendments, they voted down three others.
As we head into the 2012 primaries, The Grassroots Texans Network will continue to shine light on the candidates and their records, and will do our very best to bring, solid objective analysis to help grassroots Texans make informed decisions.
We hope that we can continue to count on your support in 2012. We’re going to need it more than ever.
As always, we look forward to your feedback, good or bad, pro or con. Fire away!